How to Celebrate the Outdoors in Stuttgart, One of Germany’s Most Beautiful Cities
Sitting in a bowl-like, fertile valley known as the “Stuttgart Cauldron,” this capital city’s surroundings offer stunning views, alfresco cultural activities, and delicious cuisine that all benefit from its rich natural environment.
It’s not often that a world-class metropolis combines an easy-to-navigate city center with far-reaching natural wonders. Stuttgart, however, perfects that combination. Nestled among hills, valleys, and parkland, Stuttgart’s scenic location belies its status as a stylish powerhouse destination and the “cradle of the automobile.” The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart teems with outdoor experiences, cultural draws, wineries, and seasonally-inspired restaurants. Use these recommendations to discover how to make the most of your next international trip.
View from the top
To get a sense of Stuttgart’s layout, venture above the city for perspective. Start by ascending Württemberg hill to the Sepulchral Chapel, a scenic mausoleum located 1,348 feet above sea level. From there, you can marvel at the Neckar River below, the city skyline to the west, and verdant forests and vineyards beyond. If you’re up for a proper hike, opt instead for the five-mile Panorama Trail (Panoramaweg Süd-West), which loops to the southwest of Stuttgart and fittingly offers panoramic views of the cityscape along the way.
For an eye-level look at the city’s outdoor offerings, visit Wilhelma, a zoological-botanical park on the grounds of an historic castle. Built in the mid-1800s as a Moorish garden, Wilhelma boasts an aquarium, an orchid collection, and nearly 1,000 different species of animals.
Germany’s culture capital
Following your outdoor exploits, duck inside for a visit to one of Stuttgart’s many cultural venues. Dubbed “Germany’s cultural capital,” the city provides a wide range of creative and intellectual outlets.
Music fans will delight to explore the award-winning Stuttgart State Theatre and world-famous ballet. For art lovers, a visit to the State Gallery is a must-do. While the museum’s post-modernist design stands in bold contrast to the historical buildings of Stuttgart, its exhibits span 800 years of art history, offering both a notable collection of contemporary and modern art and works from the 14th-19th centuries. Afterward, enjoy a relaxing, contemplative stroll in the sculpture garden.
The cradle of the automobile
For a high-speed cultural experience, look no further than Stuttgart’s two automobile highlights: the Mercedes-Benz Museum and the Porsche Museum. The only city in the world to boast two such centers of engineering, Stuttgart lives at the center of automotive history, as the purported birthplace of both the automobile and the motorcycle.
With a floor space of nearly 200,000 square feet, the Mercedes-Benz Museum dazzles visitors with more than 1,500 exhibits and upwards of 160 vehicles spanning nine levels. Several miles away, Porsche aficionados can marvel at over 80 vehicles, displayed with barrier-free access across 200 exhibits.
Following a tour of the Porsche Museum, visitors have the opportunity to rent their own dream car and delight in the powerful engineering at their fingertips. With each one-hour rental, Porsche includes 300 kilometers of driving, a second driver, comprehensive insurance, and 24/7 Porsche Assistance.
Wine estates and Michelin stars
Once you’ve gotten the adrenaline pumping, mellow out with a day of wine tasting, followed by an evening at one of the region’s wine taverns. Stuttgart boasts more than 1,000 acres of vineyards, gracing the surrounding hillsides—and the city center. Whether you prefer to hit a vineyard that’s a short walk from the main railway station or venture beyond the bustle to one of the region’s wine estates, you have many options for pleasing your palate.
For a truly authentic experience, pop into one of Stuttgart’s Besenwirtschaften or “broomstick inns.” These temporary, in-home taverns have been delighting locals and passersby for upwards of 1,200 years by offering up vintners’ newest wines alongside rustic cuisine. To find one, keep an eye out for broomsticks (or broomstick symbols) over doors of venues and prepare to toast with your new local friends.
Be sure to sip your locally made wine alongside regional specialties such as Maultaschen, a Swabian version of meat-filled dumplings, or step out for an indulgent meal at one of Stuttgart’s nine Michelin-starred restaurants, such as Wielandshöhe, a hilltop restaurant with magnificent views and equally fantastic seasonally-inspired cooking.